Meet the Designer-ArtistWhere do you live?
Great Cacapon, West Virginia
Describe your artistic style.
A cross between classic and Art Deco/Nouveau, basically, with some modern tendencies.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Sometimes it's nature, sometimes it's clothing (making something to go with it), old movies give me ideas too, and then there are just those sudden flashes.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I love Swarovski. I find a way to use it everywhere. It works so well with other media.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Graduated Arrowheads Necklace
What inspired this design?
The first piece started as a bracelet, that morphed into a necklace (all the same size links) that is very nice. Then that morphed into the graduated necklace. It just kept growing.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
I was playing with a bangle bracelet idea that didn't pan out, that led to smaller wire pieces linked for a bracelet.
Share Your BackgroundWhen and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
It started as a hobby and therapy after my dad's death in 1995. I made gifts for family and friends.
Who introduced you to beading?
A co-worker taught me to make cord and wire rosaries to send to missionaries. I went on from there on my own.
Do you have an artistic background?
No. Just love of jewelry.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
Ads in magazines.
What other hobbies do you have?
Reading, puzzles, computer games, outdoor, swimming and other crafts.
Beading SuccessWhat role does jewelry-making play in your life?
It fires my imagination. I have had to pull off the road to sketch out a sudden idea, I've awakened in the middle of the night to spend an hour sketching.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I started with local festivals. I also sold consignment in a dress shop until recently, when the economy made her close.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Keep notebooks with sketches and dates and notes on ideas and variations. When you complete one, put it in a plastic sleeve with details and keep in a binder and add photos if possible. Most of my work has been striking necklaces, bracelets and anklets. I am new to wirework, but found I really love it. I use copper and brass wire a lot, but use sterling silver for the pieces I sell in the dress shop. I've had my failures, but also a number of successes. I love mixing colors and mediums to see what catches my heart.
Suzan's design, Graduated Arrowheads Necklace was a finalist in the 2009 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Beading Contest.